In Twiston, Sabden, Padiham, Preston & Golbourne

Emigration of Cornelius to the USA

Lancashire Rose

Much of the research on this family has been undertaken by Mike Morris, formerly of Manchester but now resident in Canada. It is based in part on census data gleaned from genealogy sites and in part on the records shown on my Thornber archive section. So far there are few birth, marriage and death certificates. Much of the genealogy on Thornber families on other pages of this site was assembled prior to the availability of data on the Internet by combing through microfilms of census records and parish registers in Lancashire libraries. The research shown on this page illustrates the problems of using on-line methods because of the frequent errors in transcription that have occured. The name Thornber, readily recognised on the original record by a practised eye, is sometimes transcribed as Thomber or even Shomber. Names like Manasseh gave the original clerks problems as well as the transcribers and in some cases simple mistakes such as writing Vrigil for Virgil make the on-line search more difficult. In some cases records have come to light by looking for Christian names only or by using wild cards in the search terms such as Tho* for Thornber.

As always in genealogy, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. People not so far found in some census returns may still turn up with surprisingly mistranscribed names.

The tree begins with Richard, who may be Richard son of George & Hannah baptised 3 April 1791 at Blackburn. The age given in the 1841 census does not fit for this assignment but further age information may be forthcoming from a death certificate or burial record.

Footnote 1: Additional Evidence for Richard Thornber and Ann Ramsbottom and their son Cornelius
1841 Census at Long Row in Sabden, Township of Pendleton, Clitheroe

Source Citation: Class HO107; Piece 509; Book: 16; Civil Parish: Whalley; County: Lancashire; Enumeration District: 1; Folio: 17; Page: 27; Line: 1; GSU roll: 306898.

Printer probably relates to the process of cotton or calico printing. The surname was mistranscribed as Thomber in

Name Age Occupation Born in County
Richard Thornber 55 Printer Yes
Ann 45   Yes
Giles 26 Dryer Yes
Manaseth 18 ditto Yes
Ephraim 18 ditto Yes
John 15 ditto Yes
William 13 Tearer Yes
Alice 11 ditto Yes
Cornelius 6   Yes

Richard does not appear in the 1851 census and his wife is said to be a widow. Moreover, when the eldest son George marries in March 1845 his father is said to be deceased so Richard must have died between June 1841, when the census was taken and Marach 1845. There is a GRO index record for the death of Richard Thornber in the Clitheroe District in the March Quarter of 1844 with reference 21 291.

The ages of adults were usually rounded down to the nearest five in the 1841 census putting Richard born between 1782 and 1786. Ann appears in the 1851 census below and this fixes her year of birth about 1793. Given the gaps between Giles and Manasseh, there may be other children not recorded or who were still births or died in infancy.

Manaseth (Manasseh) and Ephraim must be twins.

1851 Census at 8 Long Row, Sabden in the Township of Pendleton and Borough of Clitheroe

Source Citation: HO107; Piece: 2256; Folio: 351; Page: 3; GSU roll: 87279.

Name Status Occupation Born
Anne Thornber head, widow, 58 House-keeper Huncote Lancashire
Giles Thornber son, unmarried, 36 Washer (Dye House) Pendleton, Lancashire
Alice Thornber dau, unmarried 19 Assist to hd. of famy: Ditto
Cornelius Thornber son, unmarried 16 Carder (Cotn: Mill Ditto


1861 Census at 8 Long Row, Sabden in the Township of Pendleton in the Borough of Clitheroe

Source Citation: Class: RG9; Piece: 3088; Folio: 28; Page: 2; GSU roll: 54076


Name Status Occupation Born
Ann Thornber head, widow, 70 House-keeper Huncoat
Giles Thornber son, unmarried, 46 labourer Heyhouses
Cornelius Thornber lodger, married 26 Tackler, Power Loom Pendleton
Ellen wife, married, 23   Padiham
Clara daughter, 2 scholar Read
Richard son, 3 months   Pendleton

By this stage we see Giles still at home with his mother. Cornelius has married and started a family. Moreover he is moving up in the world in that a tackler is a more skilled job than a power loom weaver. There is a GRO index entry for the marriage of a Cornelius Thornber in the 3rd Q of 1860 in the Clitheroe Registration District with ref; 8e 351

1871 Census at 156 Witton Terrace, Padiham

Source Citation: Class: RG10; Piece: 4153; Folio: 51; Page: 27; GSU roll: 846735

Name Status Occupation Born
Cornelius Thornber head, married, 35 Cotton Power Loom Tackler Sabden
Ellen Thornber wife, 33   Sabden
Clara Thornber dau, 11 Scholar Sabden
Richard son, 10 Scholar Sabden
Alice Ann dau, 7 Scholar Padiham
Emily dau, 5 Scholar Padiham
Rhoda dau, 3   Padiham
Elinor (sic) dau, 2 months   Padiham
1881 Census at 23 Pendle Street, Padiham

Source Citation: Class RG11; Piece 4157; Folio 31; Page 15; GSU roll 1341996

Name Status Occupation Born
Cornelius Thornber head, married, 46 Overlooker Sabden
Ellen wife, 43   Sabden
Clara dau, unmarried 21 Cotton weaver Sabden
Richard son, unamarried 20 Cotton weaver Sabden
Emily dau, 17 Cotton weaver Sabden
Alice dau, 15 Cotton weaver Padiham
Rhoda dau, 13 Cotton weaver Padiham
Eleanor dau, 10 Scholar Padiham
Virgil son, 7 Scholar Padiham
William son, 4 Scholar Padiham

Alice Ann who should be 17 is not shown but there is an Alice aged 15. I think Alice and Emily must have been mixed up in either 1871 or 1881. By 1891 Cornelius has died

Census of 1891 at 3 Spencer Street, Padiham

Source Citation: Class: RG12; Piece: 3373; Folio 10; Page 11; GSU Roll: 6098483

Name Status Occupation Born
Ellen Thornber head, widow, 53 Hello Sabden
Emily Thornber dau, single, 25 Cotton weaver Padiham
Rhoda Thornber single, 23 Cotton weaver Padiham
Eleanor Thornber dau, single 20 Cotton weaver Padiham
Virgil Thornber son, 16 Cotton weaver Padiham
Willie Thornber son, 14 Cotton weaver Padiham


There is an GRO index record in the first quarter of 1890 for a Cornelius who died aged 55 in the Burnley District which fits the Probate Index Record of:

1890. Cornelius Thornber. Administration of the personal estate of Cornelius Thornber, late of Eyes Barn, Hapton, near Burnley in the County of Lancaster, power loom overlooker, who died 23 February 1890 at Eyes Barn, was granted to Ellen Thornber of Eyes Barn, widow the relict on 27 March 1890. Personal estate of £230.

Census of 1901 at 51 Peel Street in the Civil Parish of Padiham

Source Citation: Class RG13; Piece 3878; Folio 55; Page 25.


Name Status Occupation Born
Ellen Thornber head, widow, 63   Sabden
Emily dau, single, 34 (none given) Padiham
William son, single, 23 Carter, Corn Padiham

By 1901, Ellen's son Richard has married and is in Hapton. Virgil has not been found in 1901.

Census of 1901 at Eaves Barn, Hapton, Ecclesiastical Parish of Padiham & Rural District of Burnley

Source Citation: Class RG13; Piece 3876; Folio 32; Page 4.


Name Attribute Lancashire Yorkshire
Richard Thornber head, married, 40 Farmer, employer Sabden
Jane Thornber wife, 40   Stone, Staffordshire
Fred Thornber son, 8   Hapton
Footnote 2: Further information on George Thornber

We have two marriages for George Thornber and significanlty the record of the second marriage notes he is a widower and his father was Richard Thornber. His age is consistent with his birth in 1813 in each of the census records in which he appears. There are some inconsistencies in his place of birth between census returns. However, there are no other records so far for George Thornbers born in the period around 1813 and so it is fairly safe to assume that we are dealing with only one George, who was son of Richard Thornber and Ann Ramsbottom.

Georges first marriage was at Newchurch in Pendle to Fanny Smith on 18 November 1832 and in the 1841 census he is found at Twiston near Downham in Lancashire.

Census of 1841 in the Township of Twiston and Borough of Clitheroe

Source Citation: Class HO 107/510; Piece 510; Book 4; Civil Parish of Whalley; Enumeration District 21; Folio 21; Page 8; GSU Roll 306899.

Name Status Occupation Born in County
George aged 25 Printer (probably calico) Yes
Fanny 25   Yes
Cornelius 1   Yes

Ages of adults were rounded down to the nearest five so this fits with George, born in March 1813, being 28 by June 1841. A further child, Rebecca d of George & Fanny, was baptised on 16 Feb 1842 at St. Leonard's, Downham. An earlier child William s. George & Fanny Thornber baptised 1 Nov 1835 at St. Chad's, Rochdale probably died in infancy. Oddly, the baptism record for Cornelius at Downham puts the mother's name as Nancey.

By 1851 there is no sign of George in the Clitheroe District but one for a George in Preston. Meanwhile, Cornelius can be identifed in a record in Clitheroe

Census of 1851, at 1 High Street, Clitheroe

Source Citation: Class HO107; Piece 2256; Folio 351; Page 3; GSU roll 87279

Name Status Occupation Born
Amelia Smith head, unmarried, 37 Cotton Carder Newkirk (Newchurch)
Parthenia Thornber sister, widow, aged 39 Cotton Twister Newkirk
Cornelius Thornber nephew, aged 11 Cotton fluter Twiston

Cornelius is living with his maternal aunt, but there is also a Parthenia Thornber who is a mystery. Relationships are always given to the head of household. It would be natural to consider the possibility that Parthenia was the mother of Cornelius but given the other evidence from marriage and baptism records we believe that his mother was Fanny, or as given at his baptism, Nancey. Parthenia remains a mystery as no references to Parthenia Thornber or Parthenia Smith have been found in the 1841 census. Similarly, Parthenia Thornber and Amelia Smith have not been found in the 1861 census. However, Cornelius can now be identified as the one who in 1861 is aged 21 and lodging with his Uncle Manasseh. He emigrated to the USA. (Given the uncommon use of the name Priscilla, other connections with this family may be the births of two Parthenia Thornbers recorded in General Registration - one in Burnley for the March Quarter of 1855 with reference 8e 149 and one in Burnley for the December Quarter of 1855 with reference 8e 405)

To tidy up this part of the investigation, it would be useful to find the death of the Fanny Thornber in the period between the baptism of her last child in February 1842 and the 1851 census. There are GRO index records for Fanny Thornber in the March quarter of 1842 in the Clitheroe District with reference 21 311, which could be consistent with Fanny dying in childbirth or shortly afterwards. It is likely that the burial took place at Downham if the family were in Twiston in the previous year. The child Rebecca has not been found in the 1851 census.

We now move on to look into what happened to George, the father, who is clearly not with what appears to be his sole surviving child Cornelius. There is a George who turns up in Preston in 1851 but who states that he was born in Preston whereas the information we have so far is that he was born and baptised in Padiham. He was a lodger

Census of 1851 at 16 Byron Street, Preston

Source Citation: Class HO107; Piece 2266; Folio 341 Page 42; GSU Roll 87291

Name Status Occupation Born
George Thornber lodger, married, 38 Cotton Weaver Preston
Ann Thornber married, 31 Winder Preston

The age given for George is perfect for birth in 1813 but the occupation and place of birth are different to the 1841 census and the baptism record for Downham. In 1861, George Thornber is in Goldborne and saying he was born in Freckleton.

Census of 1861 in the Civil Parish of Golborne, (near Newton-le-Willows) Lancashire

Source Citation: Class RG9; Piece 2799; Folio 31; Page 12; GSU Roll 543030

Name Status Occupation Born
George Thornber head, married, 48 County Police Constable Freckleton
Ann Thornber wife, 43 House-keeper Preston
Ruth Thornber dau 9 Scholar Preston
Richard Thornber son 5   Newton in the Willows
Lydia dau 3   Golborne
George son, 2 months   Golborne

By 1871 there is no trace of George but his daughter Ruth aged 20 is a cotton spinner and a lodger with a family called Anderton in Golborne. Source Citation: Class RG10; Piece 3910; Folio 80; Page 23; GSU roll 842048

A George Thornber aged 11, said to be born in Golborne, is an inmate of a Workhouse in Leigh. This probably indicates that he is an orphan. Source Citation: Class RG10 Piece 3915; Folio 36; Page 25; GSU Roll 8420

Footnote 3. Additional Information on Manasseh Thornber
Census of 1851 at 79 Mill Street Padiham

Source Citation: Class HO107; Piece 2253; Folio 104; Page 27; GSU Roll 87276

Name Status Occupation Born
Elizabeth Sherburn head, widow, 51   Padiham
Alice Sherburn dau, unmarried 30 Maid Servant Padiham
Ester Sherburn dau, unmarried 24 Power Loom Weaver, cotton Simonstone
Henry Sherburn grandson, 8 Scholar Simonstone
John Thomas Sherburn grandson, 3   Padiham
Manasseh Thornber son-in-law, married 28 Calico Printer Sabden
Ellizabeth Thornber dau, married, 26 Power Loom Weaver, cotton Simonstone
John Thomas Thornber grandson, aged 5 Scholar Simonston
Elizabeth Ann granddaughter, 8 months Infant Padiham

The transcription of this item has Sherburn mistranscribed as Pherburn and Thornber mistranscribed as Thomeber. This record shows that Manasseh married Elizabeth Sherburn. The baby Elizabeth Ann does not seem to have survived until 1861.

Census of 1861 at 55 Myerscough Street, Padiham

Source Citation: Class RG9; Piece 3075; Folio 23; Page 9; GSU roll 543074

Name Status Occupation Born
Manasseh Thornber head, married, 38 Gas Stoker Sabden
Elizabeth wife, 36   Simonstone
John Thomas son, 15 Cotton Power Loom Weaver Simonstone
Mary Jane dau, 8 Scholar Padiham
Cornelius Thornber visitor, 21 Cotton Spinner Clitheroe

This new Cornelius is a visitor and is five years younger than the previous one encountered, moreover his is a spinner rather than a weaver. It is likely that he is Manasseh's nephew. In the adjacent property, numbered 56, we find Manasseh's mother-in-law, now listed as Betty Sherburn, aged 61, with daughter Ester Sherburn, aged 32 and unmarried. Also in the house are grandson Henry Sherburn, 18, an engine stoker at a cotton mill, grandson Samuel Sherburn aged 8 and granddaughter Jane Sherburn aged 4. Manasseh must have died between 1861 and 1871 as his wife is in the 1871 census a widow.

Census of 1871 at 55 Myerscough Street, Padiham

Source Citation: Class RG10; Piece 4154; Folio 28; Page 11; GSU Roll 846735


Name Status Occupation Born
Betty Thornber head, widow, 46 Cotton Weaver Simonstone
John T Thornber son, unmarried 26 Cotton Weaver Simonstone
Mary Jane Thornber dau, unmarried, 18 Cotton Weaver Padiham

By 1881, John T. Thornber aged 35 was an unmarried border at 3 Ryecliffe Street, Padiham with a family called Law. He was a cotton weaver. (Source Citation: Class RG11; Piece 4158; Folio 57; Page 2; GSU Roll 1341996. Mary Jane and Elizabeth/Betty Thornber have not been identified in the 1881 census.

Footnote 4: Further information on John & Isabella Thornber
Census of 1851 at 91 Mill Street, Padiham.

Source Citation: Class HO107; Piece 2253; Folio 106; Page 30; GSU Roll 87276


Name Status Occupation Born
John Thornber head, marr, 25 Power Loom Weaver, Cotton Sabden
Isabella Thornber wife, 28 Power Loom Weaver, Cotton Simonstone
Alice Thornber dau, 1 Infant Padiham


Census of 1861 in Padiham (Street name illegible)

The record in has been mistranscribed with Thornber read as Shomber

Source Citation: Class RG9; Piece 3975; Folio 50; Page 31; GSU Roll 543074


Name Status Occupation Born
John Thornber head, 35 Cotton Weaver Sabden
Isabella Thornber wife, 38 Cotton Weaver Simonstone
Alice Thornber dau, 11 Scholar Padiham
Rachel Thornber dau, 8 Scholar Padiham
Ephraim Thornber son, 6 Scholar Padiham
Charles Thornber son, 2   Padiham


Footnote 5. Cornelius Thornber in the USA
USA Census 1870 for 11 August 1870 in Ward One, Fall River, County of Bristol, State of Massachusetts.
Name Status Occupation Born
Cornelius Thornber 30, Male, White Working in Cotton Mill England
Margaret Thornber 28, Female, White Working in Cotton Mill England
Emma Thornber 2, Female, White At home Massachusetts


US Census of 1880 in Fall River, Massachusetts.
Name Status Occupation Born
Cornelius Thornber (Thornaby) White Male, 36 Works in Cotton Mill England
Margaret Thornber White Female 35 Works in Cotton Mill England
Emma Thornber White Female 12, daughter At school Massachusetts
Sarah Ellen Thornber White Female 10, daughter At school Massachusetts
Robert Thornber White Male 7, son   Massachusetts



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